Roasting Vegetables


| 9/4/2019 9:48:00 AM


 

Roasting vegetables is easy, they say. I have always heard that but never experienced it. Anyone can throw a dish of vegetables in the oven, but I found it difficult to achieve that crispy coated browning. The caramelized sweetness of broccoli, zucchini, onions. That perfect browned skin-like coating around every cube of potato.

I gave up on roasting vegetables long ago. My roasted vegetables were always just overcooked and oily. Or the opposite: dried out beets. I am looking for that crisp outer shell with a soft fully-cooked inside. The intensified flavor you get from concentrating sugars, drawing out a sweetness you don’t expect from broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, and onions.

Last week I gave roasting vegetables another try. I tossed them with olive oil, careful not to use too much, and baked for 40 minutes at 410. I took them to a potluck with good friends. My dish was popular: zucchini and eggplant sweetly softened; buttery garlic and onions; sweet peppers, soft potatoes. But no crispy edges. No roasted browning here, for the most part; flavorful and sweet, but soft.

Friends enjoyed them. Did I mention they were good friends? Dear, very tolerant, friends? Nobody complained, everyone was supportive and ate all their vegetables. When asked how I made them, I mentioned baking at 410. Andrea tilted her head at me. 410? She looked at me sideways. Who cooks anything at 410? “I never go for 410 for anything.” She seemed surprised at my choice of heat index.



It got me thinking. Why do I roast at 410? Is it my magic number? Or is it like wearing last year’s pant length? A shirt in an off shade of pink? Next time I tried 450 degrees. It worked! 450 is great! 450 achieves the crisp edges. The perfect potatoes. The browning I seek. Roasted perfection is found at 450. Thank you, Andrea!



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